KARACHI: (AFP) Pakistan’s cricket chief Saturday denied that Mohammad Amir is being fast-tracked back into international cricket after a five-year ban, saying he will be monitored “on and off the field” before his re-entry.
The 22-year-old was on Thursday cleared to play in the domestic cricket by the sport’s top governing body, bringing him a step closer to redemption for his part in one of the most scandalous episodes in modern cricket.
Amir was one of three Pakistani players banned from the game for at least five years for arranging no-balls to order in a Test against England at Lord’s in 2010.
He was also jailed in Britain in 2011, along with former capital Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif.
Amir’s ban was due to expire on September 2, but the International Cricket Council used discretionary powers to allow him to return to domestic cricket early.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan denied that Amir was going to be rushed back into international cricket, saying that he will have to “earn his place in the Pakistan team”.
“Some people believe that we have fast-tracked his return,” he told AFP.
“In the period before his ban expires — and even after that — Amir will be constantly monitored on and off the field… He has to satisfy the PCB and the ACSU (the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit) before getting into international cricket.”
Khan said Amir was being shown some leniency because he had shown more remorse for his part in the scandal than Butt and Asif.
“Amir pleaded guilty, showed remorse throughout the last four years, but the other two players did not,” said Khan.
The decision to allow left-armer Amir — who at the time of his ban was regarded as one of the hottest young bowling prospects in cricket — comes as Pakistan is seeking to boost its status in the game.
The country has been a ‘no go’ area for international teams since terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.
“We want to build on Kenya’s tour,” said Khan, referring to the African team’s visit to Pakistan last month, adding that his board is also talking to national teams from the Netherlands, Nepal and Namibia.
“Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have promised to send their junior teams, so we are in the process of bringing more teams to Pakistan.